Peppermint chocolate slice

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Who else loves Christmas? I am one of those people who wants to start playing the Christmas music in October (I usually hold-out til mid-November!) so it suited me perfectly to test this recipe early (and a few times over!). Like candy canes in slice form, these mouthfuls are refreshingly pepperminty, with nuggets of chocolate, smooth coconut and bursts of cherry. Also a no-bake layering option with NO COOKING required! Perfect for a Christmas recipe in the southern hemisphere! Merry Christmas everyone!

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Peppermint chocolate slice

  • Servings: 25
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Ingredients

For the base:

  • 125g Marie biscuits, crushed
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 70g melted butter (?needs more)

For the filling:

  • 2 cups coconut
  • 395g sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp peppermint essence
  • 70g glace cherries, chopped
  • 70g dark chocolate chips

For the topping:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Place the Marie biscuits with the cocoa powder in a food processor and whizz until they form a fine crumb.
  2. Stir through the melted butter and pour base mixture into a greased baking tray. Use a spatula to pack the base tightly and evenly across the baking tray. Refrigerate to set.
  3. To make the filling, combine filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour on top of the base layer and spread evenly. Return to the refrigerator to set.
  4. After 30 mins or more, melt the chocolate and the oil in a mixing bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir with a spatula until melted and smooth. Pour on top of the filling and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set.

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Fruit mince chicken bake

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When I was growing up, my mother would have a dish in her frequent weeknight meals rotation that we called “Chicken with chutney and cheese on top”. Catchy title, yes? 😉 I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but it formed a staple in my childhood. I have taken this as inspiration for today’s recipe, bearing in mind that Christmas is around the corner, and therefore fruit mince is in our cupboards and in our baking. Why not add it to a savoury dish?

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So here we are – a retro inspired baked chicken dish topped with oniony fruit mince and melted cheese, and served with roast potatoes and Brussels sprouts. This is such an easy meal to make, it is a literal ‘top the chicken and whack in the oven’ deal. Once again, I have made this recipe adaptable so that it is baby friendly! I have also made this recipe freezer-friendly, so that you can have one night off cooking the week after making this recipe 🙂

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Fruit mince chicken bake

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 6-8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 75g dried apricots
  • 75g mixed peel
  • 100g sultanas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Spray a heavy bottomed roasting tray with oil.
  2. Make the fruity topping by placing the apricots, mixed peel, sultanas, garlic, onion, and spices into a food processor and process until it becomes roughly chopped.
  3. Place the chicken thighs on the roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the topping to cover the thighs evenly. Pour over the orange juice and sprinkle over the cheese.
  4. Add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts to the tray and bake in the oven for approximately 45 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are golden and crunchy on the outside.

Christmas fruit triangles

My take on Christmas fruit mince piesMy take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Following on from my previous post about a Christmas Waldorf salad, I have been meddling in the kitchen with all things Christmas–themed. Here is my take on the classic mince pie. I seriously can’t stop eating these, and have had them in the house since mid-November when I first tried out this recipe. It seems such a shame for this baked dish to have such a short window in the year!

My take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Christmas fruit triangles

  • Servings: 20
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g butter, softened
  • 3 tbs icing sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup water

For the fruit mince:

  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1 tbs milk, to brush onto the pastry
  • Icing sugar, to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Combine the flour and butter in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add the icing sugar, spices and enough water for the pastry to come together. Bring together into a ball, wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  3. Combine the fruit mince ingredients excluding the milk, and whizz together in a food processor until sticky.
  4. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface until thin (as thin as you can without it breaking). Cut into long rectangles, and then into squares about 6cm square.
  5. Place approx. 1 tsp of fruit mince onto one half of the square (divide the square diagonally so that the fruit mince covers a triangle shape). Fold the pastry over and lightly press the edges together to seal.
  6. Place the triangles on the baking tray and crimp the edges with a fork to create a pretty pattern. Brush each triangle with a little milk.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden.
  8. Cool the pastries on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar once cooled to serve.

Christmas Waldorf salad

A Christmassy take on a Waldorf salad with turkey and cranberries

I love Christmas and all of the food that naturally comes with it. However, so many Christmas classic dishes are winter themed. This does not stop me from cooking them, and my family still eats a hot roast turkey and a plum pudding on Christmas day, but it’s often not appropriate on a hot summer’s day.

I thought that I would create a Christmassy take on a classic Waldorf salad. It typically contains fruits – so what a perfect way to add dried cranberries, the classic Christmas fruit. I also included some sliced turkey, which is a great way to use up leftovers, or, to make this any time of year, just use some deli sliced meat. Toss in some cold cooked pasta to bulk it up into a main meal, and it is perfect for an Australian summer in the lead up to Christmas. You could take this to a BBQ, or simply eat it on a hot night. You will still get your Christmas vibes, but not swelter under the weight of a hefty roast dinner!

A Christmassy take on a Waldorf salad with turkey and cranberries

Christmas Waldorf salad

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 fennel, shaved thinly
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced diagonally into 1 cm chunks
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 80g sliced turkey breast, shredded
  • 6 tbs cranberries
  • 150g cold cooked macaroni pasta

For the dressing:

  • 3 tsp mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare the ingredients and place in the salad bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing in a separate bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.